Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state, pro-democracy groups, activists, many trade unions and interest groups on Wednesday marked the June 12 Democracy Day in Abeokuta, the state capital, in memory of late politician, Chief MKO Abiola, and the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election.
Addressing thousands of trade unionists, pro-democracy groups and associations at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto – Abeokuta, after inspecting a march past organised to commemorate the day, Abiodun declared that the untimely death of Abiola in detention cuts short the “national hope” for an end to poverty and suffering as encapsulated in the “Hope 93 Manifesto.”
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Engr.Noimot Salako – Oyedele,
added that the commemoration of the June 12 anniversary and the transmutation of the date into the Democracy Day in Nigeria holds a special significance for Ogun State and her people, lauding President Muhammadu Buhari in honour done unto Ogun people with June 12 public holiday.
Abiodun urged Nigerians, particularly politicians and leaders to make the sacrifice of MKO Abiola count by continuing to enthrone good governance for the benefit of the people.
He said: “Since that moment and the subsequent events that attended the annulment of the Presidential election, June 12 has taken a life of its own and the date has continued to reverberate, even 26 years after.
“Today, we are gathered here to commemorate that date. Not only that, the date has taken on an added significance as it now doubles as the Democracy Day in Nigeria.
“The main actor and custodian of the mandate of the good people of Nigeria at the June 12 Presidential polls, late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (affectionately referred to as MKO Abiola), was not only an illustrious son of our dear State but also a successful businessman of international repute.
“It is, therefore, important to note here that the commemoration of the June 12 anniversary and the transmutation of the date into the Democracy Day in Nigeria hold a special significance for us here in Ogun State. For this special recognition of the date as the Democracy Day in Nigeria, I, on behalf of the entire good people of Ogun State, specially thank our dear President Muhammadu Buhari in the rotor’s for this honour done unto us.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to observe that the foundation for the 20 unbroken years of democracy we now enjoy in Nigeria was laid on June 12, 1993. We, as proud inheritors of that heritage, are most grateful for the labour be rotor’s he rotor’s if rotor’s of a new new new new late Chief MKO Abiola and the eventual sacrifice.
” When democracy berthed on our shores again on May 29th, 1999 after many years of military rule, it was not far-fetched to appreciate the significance of that special day of June 12, 1993. It is, therefore, important that we continue to remind ourselves of the experience before that day and how far we have travelled on our democratic journey into nationhood.
“The untimely death of the nationally acclaimed father of democracy and the symbol of that election, a son of the soil and our own brother, Late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who was incarcerated and imprisoned, cut short our national hope as encapsulated in the Hope ’93 manifesto.
“His death, as we are all aware, forced the military rulers to relinquish power and move back to the barracks. And, that gave birth to our present democracy. Though, as a mortal, we miss our hero and the opportunity he would have had, to refocus, re-orientate and redirect our politics, we are consoled by the fact that we have become direct beneficiaries of the process that he sacrificed his life for.
“For this reason, I charge all our political actors not to lose sight of the significance of June 12, 1993. So much labour and struggles have been invested in order to ensure the attainment and the survival of democracy we now enjoy.
” I urge us all to make the sacrifice of MKO Abiola count as we continue to enthrone good governance for the benefit of our good people. It is my earnest belief that we should, in our conducts and gestures, further give good expression to the wordings of our National Anthem that the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. It is in doing this that we can do justice to the memory and legacy of Chief MKO Abiola.